Choosing a Professional Camera

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by jbetz, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. jbetz

    jbetz TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone. I am looking for some advice about which camera to purchase for professional work. Specifically, I am wondering whether there is an established line between professional DSLRs and consumer DSLRs.

    I am looking to make an investment in a new camera and would like to future-proof my purchase.

    Are there minimum specifications I should look for? For example, should I definitely purchase a camera with a full-frame sensor or would an APS-C or other smaller sensor be sufficient for professional work. (I know that "professional work" is way too broad. I am interested primarily in print and web-based photojournalism, as well as art photography for galleries, nothing huge, but I don't want to limit myself).

    Are there benchmarks to look for, like sensor size, megapixels, etc? I'm considering the new Canon 7D, but do others think this is a viable option for a serious professional photographer? Up to this point I have used a D90 but would like to purchase something a bit nicer (not to mention I no longer have access to this camera). What are the best options?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I know you asked about the 7D, but I don't have any experience with Canon - and since you mentioned you used the D90 I figured I'd chime in.

    I'll start off by asking if you were limited in any way by the D90 for what you do.

    If so, in what ways?

    Some options for you if you'd like to stay with Nikon would be the D300, D300s and D700 (full frame) which are all weather sealed and magnesium alloy bodies.

    Do you have any lenses already?

    Full frame vs crop sensor really depends on your needs, in some cases you'll be more limited with full frame, in particular if you need that extra reach.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  3. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    if you want your lenses to do what they're "supposed" to do, you'll need a camera with a full frame sensor. it will give you the most potential as far as creating DOF effects and a higher signal to noise ratio. start out with a 5d and then move to a 1d when funds permit.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can't... not anymore.

    These days, cameras are computers with lenses. Like all computers, the technology changes fairly quickly.

    One thing you can do, like N0YZE was suggesting, is settle on a particular line so, when you do upgrade, you can continue with the same lenses.

    Good luck!

    -Pete
     
  5. SrBiscuit

    SrBiscuit TPF Noob!

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    are you already a "professional photographer"?
    or are you just planning on being one?

    what's your budget? do you have lenses?
     
  6. jbetz

    jbetz TPF Noob!

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    I am making the transition from professional video to photography (not that there's much of a transition to make these days). I am a recent graduate, and so to answer your question no, I am not already a professional. But I'm also not the kind of person who wants to step up from a PowerShot to a DSLR and start calling themselves a photographer. I have pursued 35mm photography for many years as a hobby, and am just now looking to purchase a professional DSLR. I have experience with two D90s, one that I borrowed from my school and one that I borrowed from a friend. It's a great camera but now that I no longer have access to these, I'd like to purchase something of my own.

    I am looking to spend around $1500-$2500 on a body, and then up to another $1000 on one or two lenses. I have access to a few lenses and am hoping to borrow or rent others, so my primary concern is a nice body.
     
  7. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  8. SrBiscuit

    SrBiscuit TPF Noob!

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    nice package rob.
     
  9. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd buy that if funds allowed :(
     
  10. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    #1: Its NEVER the camera that professional; its the photographer.

    #2: There is no line separating those cameras that are appropriate for a professional to use and those that are not.

    #3: Its totally impossible to "future proof" your purchase. Nothing you buy today will be "the camera" when the future comes. Buy only what you need now. Plan on upgrading the camera body every several years.

    #4: Its more the system you buy into and the lenses you buy now, rather than the body, that's important.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Future proofing is impossible, but you can go a long ways by realizing that Nikon and Canon come out with new professional-level models about every four years, and there's about two years left until the next Nikon pro model comes along.

    Professional photography is a vast field,encompassing dozens of specialty areas. You do not mention what type of work you want to specialize in, but if it is people photography, I would strongly suggest that the full frame bodies give better results because their sensors are 2.3 to 2.5 times larger than APS-C sensors, which gives more cropping options,and better High ISO performance, and better working distances with the many lenses already on the market.

    A pro-level AF system is a bonus over a consumer-level AF system. Canon's 24-105 f/4 L-IS lens is an okay lens, but its edge performance is not very good until it's stopped down pretty well. I don't consider it a professional quality lens,and the 5D's AF system cannot focus that lens very well indoors in lower light--I know, I have the camera and the lens,and it's not a "workhorse" lens for demanding situations. it was designed as a kit lens for the 5D--capable at landscape apertures, but too slow and indecisive on autofocusing in anything but good light.

    My opinion? If you want to become a "professional photographer", you will be seriously under-capitalized if all you have to spend is $3,000-$3,500. I
    am not sure what the 'access to other lenses' will mean, but in today's market, $3,500 worth of gear is simply NOT enough to take on and deliver a lot of images in many professional fields...many hobbyists will be better equipped,and you will not be able to afford most of the pro standard equipment like a 70-200/2.8 and 24-70/2.8 and a decent flash at the $3.5k mark.
     
  12. chakalakasp

    chakalakasp TPF Noob!

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    Even if you have access to a few lenses, you'd be better off flipping the equation and getting good lenses and a $1000ish body like a 50D or a 7D. Bodies get old fast; a nice lens now will last at least 10 years before you start thinking "maybe I should get something newer...", and even then will have a decent resale value. Used 7D bodies will cost $300 in about 4 or 5 years.
     

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